There seems to be a lot to be upset about lately such as the senseless killings in Connecticut, the “end of the world” Mayan calendar, the fiscal cliff and so on. All these negatives can be overwhelming. The only recent event that truly breaks my heart and gives me pause are the killings in Connecticut. There are no words to express how profoundly sad and disturbing it is to think of those murdered children, teachers and school officials. I can’t even imagine the pain the parents, families and friends are in.

What gives me comfort is to know that although there is great sorrow in the world – there is also great joy and love. Too often, what is presented in the media is all about hate and disaster. But, I believe there is much more positive than negative going on. We can start believing that darkness is around every corner and we can let fear guide our lives, missing the beauty that is all around us. Beauty is more than something that pleases our eyes; it’s also the love that surrounds us. The essence of being that is brighter than our darkest insecurity.

Christmas is tomorrow and the stress of presents, families and entertaining is abundant. But that may be because we’ve let it get it out of control. The simple act of dinner together and remembering the love ones that have passed on as well as celebrating the new ones entering our lives may seem obsolete. But as adults, sharing time and laughter, a couple of toasts and a prayer of gratitude can bring peace of mind. Forgiveness and gratitude can bring peace of heart.

Children are our better selves. They are the innocence that brings hope to a new day. Let them celebrate this wondrous holiday with joy and special attention. Let them be the center of our attention so that wonderful memories are built around the love we give them that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.

We were children once and one day our children may have children of their own; that’s the circle of life. When we put our own desires aside and give to others the gift of joy and optimism, we give the best gift of all. We reflect the gift that has been given to us- life and all that comes with this amazing journey.

Seek truth, offer hope and smile with an open heart when you see the joy in a small child’s eyes. Because in that moment you are the best you can be. Christmas may have once been a celebration of winter solstice, a pagan ritual and a holiday was that actually outlawed for a time. But for many Christians it is the honoring of the birth of Jesus. Whatever your belief, Christmas and the holiday season can be a time when we put aside our biases, our pettiness and our anger and reach out to those who need our support with a loving touch and a gentle word. The more we practice a kind approach, the better we get at it until we’re able to carry the Christmas spirit throughout the New Year. 

During this holiday time, may God bless and give comfort to the families in Connecticut and those in America and around the world who have suffered great loss. Seek truth, offer hope and smile with an open heart to all who pass your way.

Merry Christmas to all!